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H.R. 5528 (114th): Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act

The text of the bill below is as of Jun 20, 2016 (Introduced).


I

114th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5528

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 20, 2016

(for himself, Mr. Roe of Tennessee, Mr. Polis, and Mr. Pocan) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce

A BILL

To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to simplify the FAFSA, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act.

2.

Using data from second preceding year

Section 480(a)(1)(B) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087vv(a)(1)(B)) is amended by striking may in both places it appears and inserting shall.

3.

Calculation of annual adjustment percentage for Federal Pell Grants

Section 401(b)(7)(C)(iv)(I) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070a(b)(7)(C)(iv)(I)) is amended by striking calendar year and inserting fiscal year.

4.

FAFSA Simplification

(a)

FAFSA Simplification

Section 483 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1090) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)(3), by adding at the end the following:

(I)

Format

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of the Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act, the Secretary shall make the electronic version of the forms under this paragraph available through a technology tool that can be used on mobile devices. Such technology tool shall, at minimum, enable applicants to—

(i)

save data; and

(ii)

submit their FAFSA to the Secretary through such tool.

(J)

Consumer testing

In developing and maintaining the electronic version of the forms under this paragraph and the technology tool for mobile devices under subparagraph (I), the Secretary shall conduct consumer testing with appropriate persons to ensure the forms and technology tool are designed to be easily usable and understandable by students and families. Such consumer testing shall include, but is not limited to—

(i)

current and prospective college students, family members of such students, and other individuals with expertise in student financial assistance application processes;

(ii)

dependent students and independent students meeting the requirements under subsection (b) or (c) of section 479; and

(iii)

dependent students and independent students who do not meet the requirements under subsection (b) or (c) of section 479.

; and

(2)

by amending subsection (f) to read as follows:

(f)

Use of Internal Revenue Service data retrieval tool To populate FAFSA

(1)

Simplification efforts

The Secretary shall—

(A)

make every effort to use data available from the Internal Revenue Service to reduce the amount of original data entry by applicants and strengthen the reliability of data used to calculate expected family contributions, including through the use of technology to—

(i)

automatically populate the electronic version of the forms under this paragraph with data available from the Internal Revenue Service; and

(ii)

direct an applicant to appropriate questions on such forms based on the applicant’s answers to previous questions; and

(B)

allow single taxpayers, married taxpayers filing jointly, and married taxpayers filing separately to utilize the data retrieval tool to its full capacity.

(2)

Use of tax return in application process

The Secretary shall continue to examine whether data provided by the Internal Revenue Service can be used to generate an expected family contribution without additional action on the part of the student and taxpayer.

(3)

Reports on FAFSA simplification efforts

Not less than once every other year, the Secretary shall report to the authorizing committees on the progress of the simplification efforts under this subsection.

(4)

Reports on FAFSA access

Not less than once every 10 years, the Secretary shall report to the authorizing committees on the needs of limited English proficient students using the FAFSA.

.

(b)

Funding

(1)

Use of existing funds

Of the amount authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Education to maintain the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, $3,000,000 shall be available to carry out this Act and the amendments made by this Act.

(2)

No additional funds authorized

No funds are authorized by this Act to be appropriated to carry out this Act or the amendments made by this Act.